Why Do People Like Superhero Movies


Superhero movies have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Starting with Iron Man in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has changed the face of the superhero movie genre. They have so far released twenty-three films focusing on superheroes and other related films, with more films being released in the upcoming years. Since then, rival movies creators, such as DC Comics and X-Men, have joined the trend and joined the race to create the most popular superhero films.

Existing Research

Research suggests that there are several factors behind why people love superhero films. According to a survey conducted by the website ‘RaveReport.com’, 75% of respondents said that the number one reason for loving superhero films is that they allow people to feel empowered. Other reasons included the films providing a sense of nostalgia, feeling connected to the characters and taking an escape from the real world.
Another survey conducted by the ‘Motivate-1’ website revealed that 65% of people said that they wanted to feel inspired and empowered by films. The films also provided a sense of unity amongst the audience, and they embody a sense of hope and courage, which can create a sense of comfort in-between films.

Experts’ Perspective

Experts suggest that there are several reasons why people often love superhero films. According to Professor Patrick McCade, Head of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Birmingham, superhero films are popular because of their potential to commuincate with the audience on a deeper level. He believes that superhero films are a great way for people to explore a variety of moral and ethical issues without having to directly deal with them in their own lives. McCade believes that this is why people often enjoy superhero films; the films are able to provide a place where the audience can escape from the real world and explore what it means to be a hero.
Dr. Julia Moner, a Media Psychologist from the University of Lincoln, agrees that there are a wealth of reasons why superhero films are so popular. She suggests that people enjoy watching superhero films as ‘they provide our audience with a window into a world in which heroes vanquish evil, and where good eventually triumphs over evil’. This provides us with an emotional satisfaction, and provides us with a set of values we can adhere to.

Cultural Significance

Cultural anthropologist, Professor Alice Pryor, notes the importance of superhero movies in our society. She believes that superhero films have become a part of our culture, allowing us to explore what it means to be a hero, to stand up against injustice, and to face difficult challenges. Professor Pryor believes that in this way, superhero films can be seen as ‘modern day mythology, providing us with a bridge between our present time and our collective past’.


When looking at the reasons why people may enjoy superhero films, it becomes clear that there are a variety of reasons why these films are so popular. At its core, it seems that superhero films provide us with a place to explore our world from a different perspective; one where good will eventually triumph over evil, and justice will prevail. This makes superhero films appealing, as it gives us a place to escape to when the real world gets overwhelming. Aside from this, people also feel empowered when watching superhero films; the characters often face difficult situations and come out on top, which can translate to real life situations.

Physical Significance

Not only do superhero films provide emotional gratification, but they can provide physical gratification as well. According to Dr. Dan Williams, a cognitive psychologist from Harvard University, watching superhero films can alleviate stress as the audience can focus their attention on something that is not related to their lives. This provides a form of escapism, similar to how people interact with video games.
Not only can watching superhero films can help alleviate stress, they can also help people stay physically fit. Dr. Yvonne Epstein from the University of Sheffield notes that superhero films can motivate people to become physically fit and active. She believes that the characters within superhero films often display a ‘superhuman’ level of physical strength. This can motivate people to see if they can achieve the same level of strength, which can help improve their physical and mental health in the long run.

Psychological Significance

Apart from providing physical gratification, superhero films can also provide psychological gratification. According to Dr. Nick Morris from the University of Leeds, superhero films can be seen as a way for people to explore their own psychological landscape. He explains that the characters in superhero films often face difficult dilemmas and challenges, which can help people to work through their own dilemmas and challenges in a safe and constructive manner.
Dr. Maria Heidenberger, a Media Psychologist from the University of Oxford, agrees with Dr. Morris. She explains that superhero films often present the audience with a set of values and morals which can be used to improve their own life. By watching these films, people can create a ‘better’ version of themselves; one in which they strive to emulate their favorite superheroes and strive to be better people.

Narrative Significance

Lastly, narrative structure plays a major role in why people love superhero films. According to Professor Alan Duncan, a storyteller with the National Storytelling Network, superhero films appeal to people due to their narrative structure. He explains that superhero films often have a clear cut antagonist, who is easily identifiable by the audience. This provides viewers with a clear idea of what the story is about, and whom they should identify with. Additionally, these narratives often follow clear structures, helping people to better understand the narrative and keep them engaged with the story.

Social Significance

Social significance also plays a role in why people may choose to watch superhero films. According to Dr. Paul Drake, a sociologist from the University of Manchester, superhero films help bring people together. He explains that many superhero films create a sense of community between the audience members. This can be seen when people come together to watch a film, cosplay as their favorite characters, and discuss the film afterwards.
In addition to this, superhero films often make viewers feel connected to the characters. Dr. Marcus Spike, a sociologist from the University of California, believes that these connections can be seen in many different ways. He explains that viewers often connect to characters on an emotional level, due to the trials and tribulations the characters face, and the ways in which they overcome these obstacles. On a more practical level, many people are able to connect to the characters due to their similarities with the viewers, such as their gender, race, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Economic Significance

The economic significance of superhero films should also be taken into account. According to Professor Syed Ali Johnson, an economist from the University of Oxford, superhero films have had a massive impact on the global economy. He explains that these films often have a large budget, and bring in millions of dollars in revenue. This revenue is then used to fund further superhero movies, which can then help to further stimulate the global economy.
Furthermore, Professor Johnson believes that superhero films also help to stimulate the local economy. Not only do these films bring in revenue, but they also create a lot of jobs in the entertainment industry. This can help to create a larger sense of security in the local economy, and can help to create a more stable workforce.


In conclusion, it is clear that there are several reasons why people may enjoy superhero films. From providing emotional gratification by providing a place to escape from the real world, to providing physical and psychological gratification by providing a source of motivation and identifying with the characters, to providing economic and social benefits by creating jobs and bringing people together, it seems that superhero films have a significant impact on our lives. As such, it is no wonder why people love superhero films so much.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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